Saturday, June 6, 1936

“Old Bill” Suggests—

A couple of months ago a French educator came to Washington to make a serious study of American high school newspapers. She had understood we had some. When C. C. Harvey, National Education Association, told her that we had, not “some” but thousands, she thought he must be joking.

“Aren’t there any school papers in France?” asked Harvey.

“Not if the faculties know about it,” she said, going on to mention one paper, the single issue of which led to horrified advice from two faculty members to discontinue lest the entire student staff be expelled.

For 106 years, ever since students of Boston Latin school brought out the first number of the Literary Journal in the closing months of 1829, there have been school publications in the United States. Franklin Roosevelt, Gov. Paul V. McNutt of Indiana, Willilam Allen White, Glenn Frank and thousands of others can look back on days as student editors.

Sometimes the faculty supervises with a heavy hand; sometimes student editors are fired from school. Sometimes, more rarely, they really deserve to be fired. But in the main, the tradition of free expression does hand in hand with a sane conception of truth in its proper use that is a tribute to student responsibility.

A country is free in which even children dare criticize.


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